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6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Mar 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/04/2004   
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March Key Figures

Feb 2004
Mar 2004
Feb 04 to Mar 04
Mar 03 to Mar 04

Trend
Employed persons ('000)
9,594.6
9,608.8
14.3
1.5
%
Unemployed persons ('000)
582.4
582.0
-0.5
-7.2
%
Unemployment rate (%)
5.7
5.7
0.0
pts
-0.5
pts
Participation rate (%)
63.5
63.6
0.0
pts
-0.4
pts
Seasonally Adjusted
Employed persons ('000)
9,570.1
9,637.0
66.9
2.0
%
Unemployed persons ('000)
595.8
573.9
-21.9
-9.7
%
Unemployment rate (%)
5.9
5.6
-0.2
pts
-0.7
pts
Participation rate (%)
63.5
63.7
0.2
pts
-0.2
pts

Employed Persons
Graph: Employed Persons

Unemployment rate
Graph: Unemployment rate



March Key Points


TREND ESTIMATES (Monthly Change)

  • EMPLOYMENT increased to 9,608,800.
  • UNEMPLOYMENT decreased to 582,000.
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE remained at 5.7%.
  • PARTICIPATION RATE increased marginally to 63.6%.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES (Monthly Change)

EMPLOYMENT
  • increased by 66,900 to 9,637,000. Full-time employment increased by 39,200 to 6,890,100 and part-time employment increased by 27,800 to 2,746,900.

UNEMPLOYMENT
  • decreased by 21,900 to 573,900. The number of persons looking for full-time work decreased by 10,000 to 422,800 and the number of persons looking for part-time work decreased by 11,900 to 151,100.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
  • decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.6%. The male unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.5% and the female rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 5.8%.

PARTICIPATION RATE
  • increased by 0.2 percentage points to 63.7%.


Notes

CAI IMPLEMENTATION

In October 2003, the ABS began the progressive implementation of computer assisted interviewing (CAI) into the LFS. Under CAI, interviewers record responses directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a laptop computer.


For the period October 2003 to January 2004 the CAI method was used on a random 10% sub-sample of survey interviews. The remaining 90% of interviews each month were conducted using the traditional 'pen and paper' method.


The sub-sample of survey interviews conducted using the CAI method was increased to 40% in February in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, and remained at 40% in March 2004. In the remaining states and the Northern Territory, the proportion of interviews using the CAI method stayed at 10% for February and March 2004. The CAI method will be used for 40% of interviews for all states and territories in April 2004.


Implementation of the CAI interviewing method is not expected to affect published estimates in any meaningful way. Nonetheless, the ABS is monitoring the situation carefully and has conducted a range of analyses on each month's data. These analyses have confirmed that any effect that the change in interview method may have had on survey responses to date has not materially affected the aggregate estimates for any month.


Subject to further analysis continuing to confirm that the change in method is not having a significant impact on survey estimates, the ABS intends to progressively increase the use of CAI. Users will continue to be informed of the progress of CAI implementation, including the results of further analyses, through updates in this publication.

Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Michael Johnson on Canberra (02) 6252 6525.

Principal Labour Force Series: Trend estimates

EMPLOYED PERSONS

The trend estimate of employed persons generally rose from a low of 7,637,500 in December 1992 to 9,054,200 in September 2000. The trend estimate then fell slightly to 9,033,300 in December 2000, before rising to 9,467,800 in March 2003. The trend estimate then fell for three months, before rising to stand at 9,608,800 in March 2004.

Graph: Employed Persons (Trend)


UNEMPLOYED PERSONS

The trend estimate of unemployed persons fell rapidly from 920,800 in September 1993 to 728,300 in July 1995. The trend estimate then rose to 771,600 in February 1997, before falling to 583,900 in September 2000. After rising to 685,300 in October 2001, the trend estimate has generally fallen to stand at 582,000 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed Persons (Trend)
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

The trend unemployment rate fell rapidly from 10.7% in August 1993 to 8.1% in July 1995. The trend estimate then rose slowly to 8.4% in February 1997, before falling to 6.1% in September 2000. After rising to 7.0% in September 2001, the trend estimate has generally fallen to stand at 5.7% in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployment Rate (Trend)
Unemployed Persons: Trend estimates

UNEMPLOYED MALES LOOKING FOR FULL-TIME WORK

Total

The trend estimate of males looking for full-time work fell rapidly from a high of 527,300 in December 1992 to 391,600 in June 1995. After remaining relatively stable until early 1997, the trend fell to 288,600 in June 2000. The trend estimate then rose to 329,300 in September 2001, before generally falling to stand at 254,400 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed males looking for full-time work (Trend)
Males aged 15-19

The trend estimate of males aged 15 to 19 looking for full-time work, although fluctuating, fell from 71,100 in July 1992 to 34,100 in July 2000. The trend then rose to 45,700 in September 2001. Although increasing in late 2002, the trend has generally fallen to stand at 35,700 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed males aged 15-19 looking for full-time work (Trend)
Males aged 20 and over

The trend estimate of males aged 20 and over looking for full-time work fell rapidly from 460,600 in June 1993 to 340,900 in July 1995. After remaining relatively stable until mid 1997, the trend fell to 254,400 in June 2000. The trend estimate then rose to 283,800 in October 2001, before generally falling to stand at 218,700 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed males aged 20 and over looking for full-time work (Trend)


UNEMPLOYED FEMALES LOOKING FOR FULL-TIME WORK

Total

Apart from a rise from mid 1995 to early 1997, the trend estimate of females looking for full-time work fell from 271,400 in October 1993 to 152,400 in September 2000. The trend then rose to 187,900 in October 2001, before falling to 171,300 in October 2002. After increasing to 182,800 in April 2003, the trend has since fallen to stand at 169,700 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed females looking for full-time work (Trend)
Females aged 15-19

The trend estimate of females aged 15 to 19 looking for full-time work generally fell from 58,400 in May 1992 to a low of 23,900 in October 2000. The trend then rose to 31,300 in September 2001, before falling to 25,700 in August 2003. The trend has since risen to stand at 30,600 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed females aged 15-19 looking for full-time work (Trend)
Females aged 20 and over

Apart from a rise from mid 1995 to early 1997, the trend estimate of females aged 20 and over looking for full-time work fell from 222,700 in October 1993 to 127,900 in September 2000. The trend then rose to 157,400 in November 2001, before falling to 144,100 in June 2002. After increasing to 155,200 in April 2003, the trend has since fallen to stand at 139,100 in March 2004.

Graph: Unemployed females aged 20 and over looking for full-time work (Trend)

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